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Special Effects on Automatic Presses

(August 2009) posted on Fri Aug 07, 2009

Tips for Cutting-Edge Garment Graphics in High Volume

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Sampling is also the best place to iron out kinks in a design and color separation. Is the line weight too thin or thick? Is the dot too small or large? Now is the best time to find out. Additionally, the sampling stage gives you a chance to figure out curing temperatures for heat-sensitive, special-effects inks like gel, HD, or puffs. Many of the newer special-effects inks on the market today offer a broader range of application. You can produce different effects using the same ink simply by adjusting dryer temperature. Again, your best bet is to identify those temperatures at the sampling stage.

Even a basic knowledge of the abovementioned staging process is invaluable to a designer and color separator. The sample stage is a better place to discover whether a color separation requires revision for any reason. Keeping designers in the training loop can greatly simplify this step.

A production manager’s worst nightmare is to see a machine stopped dead in mid-run with the shipping deadline looming. If a screen color is in the wrong place in the production line up, especially a special-effects screen, and needs to be moved in the middle of a production run, the entire job may need to be broken down and set up again. Mapping out an effective sampling process greatly minimizes such problems.

Advances in automatic-press technology have taken huge steps in recent years. Walking up to any of the newer models feels more like stepping up to a launch pad. The digital control panel is a dominant feature and has grown in size, along with the ability to program many functions directly from the panel rather than having to visit individual printheads to make adjustments or corrections manually. While these developments help in many instances to speed up and streamline the production process, there is one important point to take into consideration: The fundamentals of printing on an automatic screen press haven’t changed.

Automatic garment presses still have finite capabilities, and the average printhead size remains about 33 x 25 in., which gives us a maximum screen size of 31 x 23 in. and a maximum print size of 28 x 21 in. There are exceptions. Some automatic presses are designed to accommodate oversize printing, but the dimensions specified above refer to basic models that are used most commonly in garment printing.


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